Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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Police working to find reliable marijuana test

Law enforcement agencies in New York are struggling to develop a reliable method of identifying drivers who are too high to be behind the wheel. With the recent legalization of marijuana in many parts of the United States and the growing acceptability of marijuana use generally, the stakes are high for police. Yet there remains no reliable roadside impairment test for acute marijuana intoxication.

According to a professor at Columbia University Medical Center, testing for alcohol intoxication is easy compared to testing for the presence of marijuana. Weed is fat soluble, which means that THC, the high-inducing compound in cannabis, may remain in a person's blood long after the effect of the drug has worn off. The presence of THC, according to the professor, merely indicates that the person has smoked at some point in the previous weeks or month. Unfortunately, this is not sufficient for a determination of intoxication at any particular time.

A psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts has developed an app, Druid, that is designed to measure symptoms associated with intoxication due to weed use. The app measures reaction time, ability to handle tasks that require divided attention and perception of the passage of time. One of the tests utilized by Druid asks the person to track when and where different shapes appear on a tablet's touch screen. Theoretically, individuals will perform poorly on the tests if they are high on weed.

At the conclusion of testing, the Druid app assigns the driver a score. The app's creator hopes the Druid score will someday be compared against a predetermined standard, like a 0.08 BAC for alcohol testing. Individuals who have questions about Florida DWI laws may want to consult a lawyer. An attorney with experience in criminal defense law might be able to help a defendant by arguing against the admissibility of prosecution evidence or by negotiating with opposing counsel.

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